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6 Most Common Wild Cats In Mexico (With Pictures)

Mexico has a range of different wild cats that inhabit different regions of North America. The cloud forest in Jalisco—which is found in Mexico—is home to six different species of wild cats.

These include the common mountain lions (Puma) and the Jaguar, along with lesser-known species like the Ocelot, Margay, and Jaguarundi. These cats have been found throughout Mexico’s rainforests, savannas, and deserts.

Although most of the wild cat population is rapidly declining, you will be able to find these six wild cats in Mexico:

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The 6 Most Common Wild Cats in Mexico

1. Bobcat

Image Credit: Sandy-Hedgepeth, Shutterstock
Height: 16–24 inches
Environment: Swamps, rainforests, scrubland, and deserts
Conservation Status: Stable

The Bobcat is a shy and secretive wild cat that can be found from south to northern Mexico where they inhabit a variety of different environments such as deserts, forests, swamps, and deserts.

The Bobcat’s ability to adapt to different environments has allowed their population to slowly increase. This is a small wild cat that does not grow much larger than 21 inches and weighs between 19 to 30 pounds. They are very common throughout Mexico and their appearance is easily recognized with their short tail, thick grey to reddish-brown coat, and faint stripes. The Bobcat has long fur on the sides of their face and furry ears that seem large on their feline body.

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2. Jaguar

jaguar lying on log
Image Credit: Mark Green, Shutterstock
Height: 27–36 inches
Environment: Rainforests, grasslands, scrubland, and swamps
Conservation Status: Threatened

Jaguars are large wild cats from Mexico that can also be found throughout the United States and Central America. These big cats are often confused with the leopard—which is found in Asia and Africa—because of their white and tan coats with large black dots. Jaguars inhabit mangrove swamps, rainforests, and grasslands where they are opportunistic hunters and can swim and climb better than other wild cats.

Unfortunately, Jaguars are listed as vulnerable and threatened on the IUCN red list due to human conflict and the Jaguar population is declining. The Jaguar can weigh up to 304 pounds, making them a big and stocky wild cat, however, this does not stop them from being agile ambush predators.

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3. Puma

Image Credit: Evgeniyqw, Shutterstock
Height: 24–34 inches
Environment: Swamps, semi-deserts, grasslands, and forests
Conservation Status: Low concern

The Puma is a large wild cat that inhabits different forests, deserts, grasslands, swamps, and forests of various elevations. These cats are also referred to as mountain lions and are commonly found in Mexico.

They have a reddish-brown color that can often appear yellow, with a dense coat that does not have any markings except for black lines on their faces. The Puma is well-adapted to live in a variety of different conditions, however, they are vulnerable due to habitat loss and human intervention, although they are labeled as a “least concern” according to the IUCN.

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4. Ocelot

Image Credit: LucasFZ70, Pixabay
Height: 28–35 inches
Environment: Forests, swamps, and savannas
Conservation Status: Low concern

Ocelots are medium-sized wild cats that inhabits cloud forest and mangrove swamps in Mexico, southern Texas, and Brazil. The Ocelot has a spotted and lined coat with white and yellowish-brown coloration and hunts animals on the ground of their territory. These wild cats can easily adapt to a variety of different habitats that are both wet and dry.

Ocelots are listed as a “least concern” on the IUCN list, but their numbers are declining because of human exploitation. The Ocelot is often confused with the Margay, which is another common wild cat found in Mexico, however, the Ocelot has a larger body with a short tail.

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5. Margay

Image Credit: slowmotiongli, Shutterstock
Height: 13–20 inches
Environment: Forests
Conservation Status: Near threatened

The Margay is a small wild cat that has a similar appearance to the Ocelot, however, they are slightly larger. They have brown and tan-colored fur with black or dark brown splotches and dots that mark their fur, with a white underside.

The Margay has distinctively large eyes and short ears, with long legs built for climbing and agility. The Margay inhabits tropical lowland forests ranging from Mexico to Paraguay and they have a near-threatened conservation status according to the IUCN list.

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6. Jaguarundi

Image Credit: axel-blanchard, Unsplash
Height: 14 inches
Environment: Forests, scrubland, savannas, and mangroves
Conservation Status: Low concern

The Jaguarundi is a small wild cat that is native to America but can be found in south and northern Mexico. They are secretive wild cats that live alone or in bonded pairs. The Jaguarundi has a plain coat that has either a red or grey coloration with no distinctive pattern.

They inhabit thorn scrubs, forests, savannas, and mangroves where they can live in areas that are open or have vegetation for coverage and protection from predators. They prefer to inhabit lowlands, however, they have been found above sea level in Colombia. The Jaguarundi is listed as a “least concern” on the IUCN, but their numbers are declining due to human exploitation.

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The diverse habitats in Mexico make a great place for many popular wild cat species to flourish. Although many of the wild cat populations we have mentioned in the list are declining due to habitat loss and human exploitation, most only have a “least concern” conservation status. These wild cats are fascinating and have unique hunting abilities, with most being secretive with a camouflage coat that allows them to blend into the surrounding environment.

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Featured Image: Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash